Social Media Adds Facebook's Open Graph To The Shopping Cart

As noted in my previous post, "Social Media News Feed Becomes Facebook's New eCommerce Marketplace," brands have learned while having a Facebook fan page is a necessary evil in today's world of eCommerce, very few customers ever revisit a fan page after originally LIKING it. What's needed to motivate consumers is a much more robust experience that allows Facebook to gather information about its users, both on the social network itself and from other Web sites tied to its Open Graph.

In the graphic novel, Facebucks & Dumb F*cks, Mark Zuckerberg (aka Z-Man) equates the tagging of all the products in the world as the first step in preparing the online world for the coming of Web 3.0  - when machines will become an integral part of making our buying decisions for us.

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But until that time, the public will first have to become comfortable with the idea that we give up some of our privacy to integrate the referrals and recommendations of our friends into the buying process via the Open Graph.

Ethan Beard, director of Facebook's Developer Network is responsible for building business partnerships Ethan BeardEthan Beardwith brands. While he see storefronts on Facebook having some merit, his team is more focused on encouraging retailers into integrating the social network into their eCommerce sites. One of his team members underscored this point by noting that "the (Facebook) storefronts are really only one piece, and really a pretty small piece, of the burgeoning area of social commerce."

Facebook's real interest isn’t in getting people to create tabs where people can shop on their network but rather allowing consumers to shop on Web sites that have integrated with Facebook's Instant Personalization and can gather more insight as to what their friends have discovered and purchased recently.

The Internet Retailer pointed to a couple of brands that have creatively adapted to this new paradigm. The "Levi Friends Store" has melded its online Web site into a Facebook integrated shopping experience.

The site allows visitors to become shoppers by signing into their Facebook accounts when they visit the above home page. Here they see their FB friend's birthdays and the types of merchandise they have purchased in the past.

This past July, launched a beta program that prompts consumers to log into their Facebook profiles through Amazon's Web site. In so doing, it allows the retailer to access information about users, their friends, as well as the products their friends have noted they LIKE on the social network.

Amazon has implicitly stated that it will not share the user’s information, including his account activity, with Facebook—nor will it attempt to contact any of the user’s Facebook friends. The world’s largest online retailer also says it won’t post anything on a user’s Facebook Wall without the user’s consent. And, if a consumer disconnects Facebook from Amazon, the retailer says it deletes any data that was transferred.

Advice from friends regarding purchases is something we all seek out on a regular basis in the real world. While Facebook is feeding into that primary need for folks to solicit recommendations from the people that are closest to us, it doesn't take into account that "Facebook Friends" aren't necessarily our "closest friends." While on the one hand we seek instant gratification by amassing large followings on social networks, after a while it simply becomes a numbers game of adding people you might never spend a moment of your life with in the real world.

Shawn FanningShawn FanningShawn Fanning, one of the original founders of Napster together with Dave Motrin, an PATHPATHex-Facebooker have developed a mobile social network called "Path." It is their belief and their network's premise that 50 people are probably the most any one person can really call friends and trust enough to share information with ( for more on Path, see my previous post, "Social Media Takes Anti-Social Networking PATH With Napster Founder").

With Path on one end of the social networking spectrum and Facebook the other extreme, it will be interesting to see if Facebook's Open Graph becomes the norm in 2011, and its 500+ million followers slowly acquiesce into believing "more is better." Certainly, as altruistic as Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook would like to appear to the public, at the end of the day, brands and Facebook benefit if the Open Graph becomes an acceptable means of conducting eCommerce - as the bottom line is just that - more cash to the bottom line!

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Dec 7, 2011
by Anonymous

Nice post

Nice post.